Posts tagged "The NY TImes"
Another Week Ends: Schismogenesis, Megachurch Funerals, Accidental Theology, Smartphone Shrinks, Mean Professors, Nocebos, Zooropa and Elysium

Another Week Ends: Schismogenesis, Megachurch Funerals, Accidental Theology, Smartphone Shrinks, Mean Professors, Nocebos, Zooropa and Elysium

1. The NY Times published a wise op-ed from sociologist Tanya Luhrmann this past week on the the subject of “How Skeptics and Believers Can Connect”. She begins the column by recounting a disconcerting experience she had promoting her terrific book, When God Talks Back, on a Christian radio station. Luhrmann does not self-identify as a Christian, which the host of the show apparently took as a cue to berate her into converting on air (rather than dig into a book that has quite a bit of sympathetic material to relate). Now, God only knows what exactly the motivation/justification at…

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Psychopharmacology Nightmares and the Sanctuary Model

Psychopharmacology Nightmares and the Sanctuary Model

In an enticingly titled NY Times op-ed “Diagnosis: Human” this past week, Harvard ethicist Ted Gup warned of the dangers of approaching our problems in an overly/exclusively pharmaceutical fashion. The temptation with certain types of psychotropic drugs being that they will serve as quick-fix band-aids rather than as part of an actual cure, and in doing so, they may even backfire. Part of his concern has to do with what he sees as the fallout of prescription-happy doctors when it comes to the diagnosing of boys with ADD/ADHD. You’ll have to read the whole article to understand just how deep…

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Don’t Choke on Your Scarf!

Don’t Choke on Your Scarf!

It’s always amusing to see religious insights about human behavior expressed in management-speak, which is happened precisely in The NY Times this past Saturday, in their interview with David Rock, the director of the NeuroLeadership Institute. The acronym Mr. Rock uses to describe the in’s and out’s of motivation is SCARF, which stands for Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness. For those keeping score at home, SCARF is basically shorthand for we mean when we talk about Original Sin, i.e. you could almost substitute Self-Justification for Status, Bondage for Certainty, Control for Autonomy, Exclusivity/Scapegoating for Relatedness, and Judgment for Fairness…

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Another Week Ends: Recovering Francis, Present Shock, Silicon Valley Solutionists vs Pessimistic Germans, Internal Gutters, The Pull, iPhone Police and Steve Brown

Another Week Ends: Recovering Francis, Present Shock, Silicon Valley Solutionists vs Pessimistic Germans, Internal Gutters, The Pull, iPhone Police and Steve Brown

1. Not knowing much (at all) about Pope Francis, maybe you were as pleasantly surprised as I was to read David Brooks’ irenic column about “How Movements Recover”, in which he articulated a philosophy and approach quite near and dear to this mocking-heart:

Augustine [of Hippo], as his magisterial biographer Peter Brown puts it, “was deeply preoccupied by the idea of the basic unity of the human race.” He reacted against any effort to divide people between those within the church and those permanently outside. He wanted the church to go on offense and swallow the world. This would involve swallowing…

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God Save Us From The Nasty Effect

God Save Us From The Nasty Effect

A very interesting and close-to-home article appeared in The NY Times recently, “This Story Stinks”, in which Dominique Brossard and Dietram Scheufele relay some findings from a report published last month in The Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (!) about the so-called “nasty effect” that afflicts online culture. Specifically, the comments sections one finds on blogs and online publications such as this one. How do insulting and ad hominem comments affect the way we process information? You probably already know, but suffice it to say, the answers are not encouraging. In a sentence: “Uncivil comments not only polariz[e] readers, but they…

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Another Week Ends: Miracle Baskets, Doubtful Essays, Optimism vs Quitting, Paternalism, Secret Menus, Netflix Puppetry, Bowie and Mats Return, and Hathaway Haters

Another Week Ends: Miracle Baskets, Doubtful Essays, Optimism vs Quitting, Paternalism, Secret Menus, Netflix Puppetry, Bowie and Mats Return, and Hathaway Haters

1. In need of a little (heart)warming on a cold winter’s day? Look no further than the spontaneous act of mercy that occurred on a high school basketball court in Texas last month, ht JD:

2. Phillip Lopate ponders the declining place of Doubt in an essay for The NY Times, evidence perhaps of deeper denials, ht SY:

Despite periodic warnings of the essay’s demise, the stuff does continue to be published; if anything, the essay has experienced a slight resurgence of late. I wonder if that may be because it is attuned to the current mood, speaks to the present moment….

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Valentines Extravaganza: Tortoise Love, Tender Paper Planes, Taylor Swift B-Sides, Co-Dependent Pixels, and Ryan’s Rescue

Valentines Extravaganza: Tortoise Love, Tender Paper Planes, Taylor Swift B-Sides, Co-Dependent Pixels, and Ryan’s Rescue

1. A touching installment of Modern Love appeared in The NY Times, Caroline Leavitt’s “My Touchstone and a Heart of Gold.” It’s a story of judgment and love and pet turtles, not to mention the difference between loving a person for who you’d like them to be/who you think they should be vs. who they actually are, foibles and eccentricities included:

The more time I spent discovering the tortoise [Minnie], the more my boyfriend uncovered things about me he didn’t like. My friends were now too loud, and why couldn’t I trade my jeans for something more feminine, with a…

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Assisted Living and the Lost Art of Dying

Assisted Living and the Lost Art of Dying

Did you see Tim Kreider’s straight-shooting entry in the NY Times’ Anxiety series, “You Are Going to Die”? Kreider exposes a few of the predominant illusions that we embrace as a culture/species when it comes to dying, and while none of it may exactly be breaking news (or a laugh riot), his candor is deeply refreshing. It should come as no surprise that our hardwiring for control informs both of the top entries on the list: 1. the necessity to conceive of our life as a self-propelled narrative of progress (law) and 2. the absurd but no less widespread fallacy…

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Inner Police and the Message of Grace to/with/for Children

Inner Police and the Message of Grace to/with/for Children

Bravo to The NY Times for including Mark Galli’s wonderful and irenic “Focus on Grace, Not Control” in their new Room for Debate on the question “With Children, When Does Religion Go Too Far?” It’s a clear, brief and even exciting reminder of what Christianity has to offer to men and women–children and parents–who are living under the burden of control, whether it be in its religious or non-religious form, namely, the exact opposite of what most people perceive/experience it as offering (for good reason, as the comments depressingly bear out). It’s a little ironic that Galli–whose byline might suggest…

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Is Contemporary Literature Post-Christian?

Is Contemporary Literature Post-Christian?

An essay in last week’s NYTimes written by Paul Elie grabbed my attention, prodded me in the gut, and provoked some mixed reactions on my behalf. Written with a sensitivity to the oft-referenced ‘post-Christian society,’ Elie surmises that contemporary American fiction lacks the believer: “In American fiction, belief is like that. Belief as upbringing, belief as social fact, belief as a species of American weirdness: our literary fiction has all of these things. All that is missing is the believer.”

His argument and epistolatory tone largely stem from an understanding that a large swath of American literature has been overtly rooted in…

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Another Year Ends: Evangelical Decline, more Les Mis, Tebow Absurdity, Anxious Parents, The Hobbit, Apatow in Crisis, Millenial Affirmations and A Muppet Family Christmas

Another Year Ends: Evangelical Decline, more Les Mis, Tebow Absurdity, Anxious Parents, The Hobbit, Apatow in Crisis, Millenial Affirmations and A Muppet Family Christmas

1. An uncommonly insightful piece by John Dickerson appeared in The NY Times about “The Decline of Evangelical America.” Writing as an evangelical himself, Dickerson recites some jarring statistics before launching into a sympathetic and genuinely hopeful conclusion, ht SZ:

In 2007, the Institute for Jewish and Community Research, in a survey of 1,300 college professors, found that 3 percent held “unfavorable feelings” toward Jews, 22 percent toward Muslims and 53 percent toward evangelical Christians…

The core evangelical belief is that love and forgiveness are freely available to all who trust in Jesus Christ. This is the “good news” from which the…

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“And Death’s Dark Shadow Put to Flight…” A Post for Newtown, Connecticut

“And Death’s Dark Shadow Put to Flight…” A Post for Newtown, Connecticut

It goes without saying that our prayers and hearts have been with Sandy Hook Elementary and the Newtown community since last week. On this side of our Sunday services, “Lord have mercy” is pretty much all I have left to say in my spiritually and emotionally exhausted state, and I don’t think I’m alone when I say that.

For those of us who are still struggling to maintain composure in light of tragedy, or for those exhausted from the 24 hour media coverage, or for those wrestling with the relationship between a good God and an evil…

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“My Emails Send So Slowly From Cannes!” – Social Media and the Art of Humblebragging

“My Emails Send So Slowly From Cannes!” – Social Media and the Art of Humblebragging

The New York Times last week ran an so-real-it-hurts article on “Humblebragging“, examining how self-aggrandizing ‘modesty’ has worked its way into social media. With hilarious examples like the misfortunes of using the Internet in Cannes or complaining about how much men ‘hit on me when I’m in sweatpants’, the piece is almost a textbook on how to humblebrag yourself, ht TB:

SOMETIMES when I crave a powerful dose of humility — the kind of humility that can come only from fully apprehending the lot of those less fortunate than me — I turn my attention to the plight of the former…

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Another Week Ends: Exceptional Children, Holiness Holes, AA Slogans, Reformation Sincerity, Online Niceness, Grateful Dead, Aimee Mann and Seinfeld-ized Game of Thrones

Another Week Ends: Exceptional Children, Holiness Holes, AA Slogans, Reformation Sincerity, Online Niceness, Grateful Dead, Aimee Mann and Seinfeld-ized Game of Thrones

1. An encouraging number of signs of life in the bibliosphere this week. First, over at The New Statesman, much to my surprise (and much to his credit), renowned atheist Alain de Botton selected Francis Spufford’s Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense as his favorite book of the year. For a profound little excerpt from the book, go here. Can’t wait for it to come out in the States. Second, there’s the arresting depth of understanding and engagement in From Exile, Grow Man’s review of PZ’s Grace in Practice. Probably the most honest review I’ve…

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Worried About Worrying (When You’re Not Supposed to Be)

Worried About Worrying (When You’re Not Supposed to Be)

A beautiful, honest, and incredibly sympathetic reflection on the relationship between anxiety, control, and circumstance appeared in The NY Times last week, as part of their (and now our!) ongoing series about Anxiety, the appropriately titled “The Snake in the Garden”. It’s hard to write a hopeful piece about what are essentially self-defeating internal processes, but that’s exactly what Pico Iyer has pulled off here. The final paragraph is one for the ages in fact, and he even uses Garden of Eden imagery to frame his dilemma (which, one might add, is highly reminiscent of the first chapter of Dorothy…

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